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Old 11-07-2003, 05:14 PM
humbert humbert is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2
Default Questions on external hard drives.

Hello like-minded people.
I was wondering if anyone could share a few tips about important things regarding external hard drives that so many people are keen to sell these days.
I do not have any experience with the "external" thing so i am trying to figure out what things really matter versus what i read.
my2cents: disc space: i know what this is, and i know it's value.
i am pretty sure i know what the value of the RPM speed is, i think settling on the number 7200. Although slightly familiar with it, any shared stories regarding this will be greatly welcomed.
Here's my biggest "i-have-no-idea" problem: Buffer size. The values I've seen proposed on this matter range from 2mb to 8mb. I have been told by people, (somehow unable to explain why to my satisfaction) that this is a big deal about the external devices.

I am not sure if my thoughts are coming correctly through my keyboard, so:

i need to buy an external hard disk device, i know hard disks, but not external.
the reason for my excitement about external thing are purely regarding that it is "external". ( i have reasons and would be nothing but happy discussing this with anyone with likewise ambitions).
I will use this purely as a storeage space, so it has not crossed my mind to use it in the same way as an regular hard disk: no operating system, and no real-time-straight-to-disk-recording. The idea is to have a space for storage wich is (and this is my excitement) PORTABLE.

With thanx in advance.

ps; of course, i am using pro-tools as the main/only device.

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Old 11-07-2003, 06:15 PM
String of Child String of Child is offline
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 7
Default Re: Questions on external hard drives.

Think of a HDD Buffer as onboard ram. It's basically how much onboard capacity a drive has to perform functions before it has to send. So if you are using the HDD as a storage disk only IE: not using it as a main work drive for editing the buffer doesn't matter, if you are using the drive to perform as a work drive you want a bigger buffer. Hope that explains a bit.

Also, when dealing with external drives, if you are using a firewire port etc you have to be aware of your motherboards configuration to a degree. PCI slots etc all tend to run through a single controller, while *internal drives run through a different controller. if you are using an external drive as a work drive while running various other applications you will notice a lot more accessing lag time. While a larger HDD buffer will speed this up by varying degrees if you are already overtaxing the controller chip that your hdd is plugged into the buffer size won't mean jack. Gigabyte puts out a mother board that is specifically designed to increase the speeds of external HDD equipment *Gigabyte 8knxp directly routes two external SATA ports to the back of your Tower which gives you plug and play capability directly connected to your internal HDD controller (*8knxp-ultra for SCSI).
Before I started worrying about buffer size I would look at how your motherboard deals with external storage and then make a choice based on how much you really need that extra couple of MB. Something else to contemplate when looking at externals is the availability of external drive cases that you can simply plug an internal HDD into and away you go. www.frozencpu.com has a few of these and is a good place to start.
Answering my own questions since 1975
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Old 11-08-2003, 06:36 AM
where02190 where02190 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boston, Ma USA
Posts: 8,145
Default Re: Questions on external hard drives.

Faster the drive the quicker it reads writes fiels. Protools requires a minimum 7200 rpm.

Bigger the drive the more files you can write to it before it is full, however larger drives can be a bit slower to read than smaller ones, and there is more disc surface to search.

Biggr cache allows for faster read ahead by the processor.

FWIW, we use Western Digital Caviar 8mb cache drives in all our Firedocks. After testing all the major brands, we found them to be among the faster and quietest, and very reliable. You can purchace them online through reliable venders listed on www.pricewatch.com for around $100 for 120gb.
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